The 2 Plate Trick To Cut All Your Cherry Tomatoes At Once

Even the best chefs make mistakes when they're moving fast, especially when it comes to cutting up ingredients. And one of the trickiest items to always slice quickly and safely is a cherry tomato.

Though we can think of at least 12 juicy reasons to pick up a pint of cherry tomatoes, the idea of slowly slicing a pile of those slippery little orbs is enough to give some home cooks pause. Somehow the petite ingredients seem to know when you're in a rush. But instead of getting frustrated with the process, you can try an easy trick professionals use to save time and protect fingers.

Sandwich a handful of tomatoes between two plates, then slide a knife through all of the tomatoes in one go. Just make sure to use a serrated or sharp knife to effectively cut through the skins. To capture and contain the most fruit, overturn the top plate to hold the small circles steady. You can also modify this trick and swap the top plate for the lid of a plastic container.

Put cherry tomatoes to work in a variety of recipes

This trick works for both cherry and grape tomatoes, too. Once sliced, the miniature varieties are perfect for topping salads, toasts, and fish. They're also perfect for preserving and dehydrating. Bake them at roughly 200 degrees Fahrenheit for a few hours until you're left with mock sun-dried tomatoes.

If some or most of the carton's inhabitants have seen better days, set them aside for a cooking project. Deflated or wrinkled skins might make them too delicate to slice, but they'll still shine in the oven; cooking at 350-400 degree Fahrenheit for a bit will draw out moisture and caramelize the tomato's natural sugars. Or, you can sizzle and smash them in a pan before combining with pasta.

Technically, you can even grow more of the fruit with its leftover seeds. However, be aware that some farmers use hybrid plants to create those store-bought beauties. That means the seeds you plant may not produce tomatoes with the exact same taste or texture as the specimen you planted.

Other helpful hacks to cutting up ingredients

In addition to the plate trick, pro chefs employ a number of smart moves to save on time and maximize ingredients when preparing them. When it comes to peeling tomatoes and other fruits with skin, try slicing an X into the bottoms before blanching them. After a quick dip in boiling water, the exteriors will slide right off. The same tactic works on peaches, too.

Another idea to protect your digits and prep efficiently requires a fork. Simply stick a fork through the base of an onion before dicing it. This gives you an anchor as the finicky pieces shift and slide.

Regardless of how you slice and dice, make sure to your keep tools sharp. Professionals are constantly keeping an eye on their blades, and you should too. If you notice a dull edge and need to sharpen your knife without a knife sharpener, a last hack is to run the blade along the bottom of a ceramic mug. Though this isn't a long-term solution, the quick fix could make a difference in the race to get dinner on the table.